I’m Vikki…I may come across as bitchy, but I just want people that suck, to not suck, and people that don’t suck to keep not sucking.
Theme Parks formerly known as Youth Sports are a duo of Jake Achitoff and Rachael Behaviorist who also play in local Honolulu bands GRLFRNDS and The Behavorists. They have self released a few songs on their Bandcamp page and I came across them while scanning “Hawaii” on Bandcamp’s website. At first glance I assumed this band reads Pitchfork’s Altered Zones and noticed the trend in “lo-fi” double exposure photos and assumed the music is the newly invented genre “Chillwave”.
The first song I came across was “A Chill Milli,” which is a mash up with Lil Wayne. My first thought was that it had a cool beat and synth sound. Then Lil Wayne came in. That’s when the song stopped making sense. It ended up being the same synth sound and beat looped for four minutes with Lil Wayne rapping over it, but it didn’t match. Seems like it took 30 minutes to throw together to capitalize on Lil Wayne’s recent prison release. The first few seconds sounded cool though, but for the most part it was just a mess.
“A Chill Milli”
Next up was “Trees.” My initial impression was the same as “A Chill Milli,” cool beat and synths. I liked this song more than the unlistenable mash up I first came across. It just went on two minutes too long. Vocals could use some fine tuning and it seemed to go nowhere. The song in general needed something. I can appreciate bands being minimal, but there is a difference between minimal and being boring.
I skipped down to “Thief” and once again, cool beat and synth. Then the vocals came in. There is something about the way they sing that doesn’t quite work. It doesn’t match what the music or song is doing. The moaning seem to chase the key of the song and is really tough to get through. Granted this is the first song they released, but for God’s sake please sing in key. If that is not possible use effects or layers to hide your voice. Or if you are going for ambient music, go “My Bloody Valentine” with your vocals use your voice to blend in with the song like an additional instrument.
I’m not going to cover every song because they all pretty much sound the same and my above impressions are a blanket review for this band so far.
Their first song was uploaded in September 2010, and they definitely jumped on the Chillwave that bloggers were going nuts over last summer with Neon Indian, Toro Y Moi, Memory Tapes and the hundreds of other chill a-likes that are over blogged about on the carbon copy music blogs that litter the internet. I understand Chillwave can be ambient, but good ambient music is really tough to execute so that it’s good, plus the best in Chillwave still have strong structures and even hooks.
Overall Theme Parks makes some cool beats and they certainly can use a synth, but their songs don’t go anywhere. Their music, at this point, is a one-way ticket to snoozeville. They need to either concentrate on improving their vocals or produce songs that singers can sing over. Also, there aren’t really any discernible melodies, and all of the songs sound rushed – and not in an effortless way that can be awesome, but in a “better get blogged about before the Chillwave goes back out to sea” kind of way. They are still a new group so maybe these are just growing pains that they will work through. Here’s to hoping.
Decide for yourself by listening to them here and let’s argue about music.